Welcome to Mozilla Science Lab's Open Data Primers!


Why Open Data?

Open Data helps to:

1. Speed discovery & avoid duplicated effort

When data are open from the start of a research project, researchers can work together or in parallel on similar problems. These collaborative opportunities allow for building on the work of others rather than redoing it. Real-life example: Celera and the Human Genome Project

2. Increase scholarly impact

When data are open and made available alongside publications, others can access and reuse data which leads to increased citations, clear recognition of contributions, and broader scholarly impact.

3. Save time preparing for funder and publisher open data requirements

When data are open early in the research process, it saves time and can prevent mistakes or information loss later on when fulfilling funder and publisher data sharing mandates.

4. Ensure that data is preserved

When data are open and made widely available, such as in an institutional data repository or a nonprofit repository like Dryad, the responsibility of archival preservation is handled by digital archiving professionals. This ensures that datasets remain accessible and relieves the researcher of the burden of managing the data long-term. Real-life example: NASA and Apollo 11

5. Encourage collaboration across disciplines

When data are open, researchers can more easily find those outside their subject area doing related or relevant work; these connections and collaborations may lead to new ways of approaching and solving problems. Real-life example: Agricultural scientists and climatologists.

6. Maintain accountability and integrity

When data are open, the results or findings of that data can be more easily verified, increasing public trust in research institutions and governments. Real-life example: Reinhart and Rogoff

7. Facilitate citizen science and encourage public engagement with research

When data are open and the findings are shared in a clear and accessible way, it increases public understanding, creates opportunities for public participation, and bolsters public support of research initiatives. Real-life example: Hanny's Voorwerpjes

These reasons range from very practical (1 and 2) and pragmatic (3 and 4), to more abstract (5 and 6).

What are your reasons for learning more about open data? Have you shared your data openly? Why or why not?

Let us know by tweeting @MozillaScience and use the hashtag #opendatastories!